That old high school stereotype that the athletic kids are the dumb ones is slowly becoming outdated. According to Dr. Bob Rauner, many times they tend to be more intelligent.He feels that the -dumb jock- and -out of shape nerd- stereotypes are no longer relevant in our modern society. His recent study showed that children who are more physically active tended to score higher on math and reading tests than children who were less active and out of shape. Funny enough, the study was conducted to see the results of many schools removing gym and recess from the schedule to focus more on academics. In an effort to improve standardized test scores, priority has been placed on classes, with physical activity time getting the axe. Those schools who have removed recess and gym, not only show increased obesity rates, they also show lower test scores. The study compared students standardized test scores with their BMI. It found that physically fit children were 2.4 times more likely to pass math tests and 2.2 times more likely to pass reading tests compared with unfit children. Poorer children who received free school lunches and also tended to be more overweight due to income reasons still had a greater chance of passing the tests than the generally unfit kids. The study also found that physical fitness, not BMI was a good indicator of academic performance. Although high BMI, and in turn high weight, is a health concern, it doesn’t correlate as directly to academics as physical activity does. Although fitness and socio-economic position both have an impact on academic performance, fitness is easier and quicker to improve and as a result is much more realistic to tackle in a school setting. Getting rid of physical activity time is clearly not helping them as much as they think, in fact it is quite counter productive. The research is very clearly showing that physical and mental activity are connected. Research have shown that exercise also raises self esteem, when they feel better about their body, they feel better about themselves. This increased self esteem can directly allow them to have more confidence and drive academically, leading to better grades.
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